Learning to read an 18th-century hand

Eighteenth-century handwriting may seem hard to read at first sight, yet you do get used to it once you get going. And in the course of reading a person’s handwritten texts, you develop a feel for the writer’s particular characteristics.

If you wish to develop this skill to be able to read letters from the period, good advice may be found on the website Martha Ballard’s Diary Online. Martha Ballard (1735-1812) was a New England midwife, who kept a record of the babies she dilivered for 27 years.

Martha Ballard’s Diary Online

You can practise transcribing the diary by clicking on Try Transcribing, and after checking your transcription, you will be able to get more guidance from the dohistory toolkit.

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